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Client Advocate in the Criminal Justice System

Become an Advocate for low-income people in the criminal legal system

Note: Our hiring cycle has NOT been disrupted by the current COVID-19 outbreak. We are still encouraging applications and our deadline remains March 29.

Poverty and criminal legal system involvement are inextricably linked in the United States. Partners for Justice disrupts this cycle by embedding young leaders as client Advocates with Public Defenders, where they fight for low-income people in the legal system and government agencies.

As an Advocate, you will work directly to protect clients from the devastating impacts of arrest and improve their underlying life circumstances. You will also receive firsthand exposure to the criminal legal system and a life-changing public service experience.

We are hiring 20+ college seniors or recent graduates to join the PFJ programs in Houston, TX; Oakland, CA; Wilmington, DE; and potentially new locations in Miami, FL and New Orleans, LA. You will work hand-in-hand with attorneys and a network of community partners to fight for your clients' liberty, housing, employment, immigration status, public benefits, and more.

What You'll Do as an Advocate

Every day will be different, whether you're working directly with a client, building awareness of your services, or collaborating with a community partner. As an Advocate, your responsibilities include:
  • Learn about the problems your clients are facing and work with them to come up with creative solutions.
  • Partner closely with attorneys to provide relevant information and documents for clients' criminal case and other legal issues; ensure seamless coordination across interdisciplinary legal teams.
  • Depending on your clients’ needs and attorney direction, assist them with issues like clearing past criminal convictions, preparing for child services interventions, accessing public benefits, maintaining work licenses, finding and maintaining housing, and obtaining mental health or substance abuse treatment.
  • Develop partnerships with local government agencies and community organizations, and maintain deep knowledge of their services so that you can appropriately refer and advocate for clients.
  • Maintain detailed knowledge of court processes and requirements so that you can help your clients navigate these institutions.
  • Advocate for clients with service providers, attorneys, judges, landlords, employers, and others (as appropriate); tell your clients' stories in a compelling way that gets results
  • Collect data about your activities and achievements and report this data to PFJ

Who You Are

  • A creative problem-solver who is able to find innovative and efficient solutions to unusual obstacles
  • A proactive and independent thinker who can make progress even with limited direction
  • Resilient and tenacious; the kind of person who will chase down an issue to its conclusion, regardless of the challenges in your way

What You'll Need

  • A Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)
  • Availability to begin work by August 2020 and to commit to staying in this position through August 2022
  • Flexibility to be placed at one of PFJ's existing host offices or a new location
  • Demonstrated interest in public service, human services, criminal justice, civil rights, or social justice
  • Demonstrated record of academic achievement and leadership
  • Bilingual / fluency in Spanish preferred
  • Natives or current residents of Alameda County, CA; Harris County, TX; New Castle County, DE; Miami-Dade County, FL; and New Orleans, LA are highly encouraged to apply!

What You Can Expect to Gain From Your Time as an Advocate

Serving as a PFJ Advocate will give you the skills and knowledge to launch your career wherever you choose to go next! From your PFJ experience, you'll take away:
  • Satisfaction in having made a concrete difference in individual lives and the overall community where you serve
  • Real-world exposure to how the legal system and other government institutions operate
  • Absolute confidence in your ability to face down new challenges and navigate them successfully in a variety of contexts
  • Skills in negotiation, mediation, persuasion and storytelling
  • A salary competitive with entry-level positions at other non-profit organizations or government agencies and a generous benefits package